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Los Altos Police Department
Thursday March 26th, 2015 :: 02:44 p.m. PDT


Don’t fall victim to common scams this tax season

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, the elderly, and citizens in general has been making the rounds throughout the country. Telephone callers will claim to be employees of the IRS, PG&E, Cable Company, a local or foreign law enforcement agency, or other collection agency. These con artists can sound very convincing when they call. They will use fake names and bogus identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets and they usually alter the caller ID to show the agency which they claim to be calling from.

Victims are told they owe money and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license, or termination of services.  In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Victims may also be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

It is important to note that the IRS, a law enforcement agency, or any reputable business will NEVER:   

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you suspect you’ve been the victim of this scam, please contact us at (650) 947-2770.  Otherwise, we urge you to be on the lookout and help spread the word to prevent others from falling victim to these scammers.

Los Altos Police Department
1 N San Antonio Rd
Los Altos, CA 94022

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-947-2770

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